Léon Petitjean

 

We do not know almost anything about the life of Léon Petitjean, with the exception of an article that he wrote in 1911 for the Annales des Sciences psychiques, in which he narrated his spiritualistic experience. In the beginning of the 20th century Petitjean discovered his mediumistic abilities and began writing messages dictated by the spirits, among others those from the spirit of his deceased mother. Similarly to other spiritualist productions there is a very close relation between image and writing : one ensues from the other following a process of metamorphosis, which appears to translate for the author the exultation of letting his hand drift wherever his fantasy takes it. From the dense networks of lines there sometimes emerge fantastic faces. According to Petitjean, these figures represent the „portraits of spirits dressed in their fluidic costumes“. Petitjean’s motives, similarly to his contemporary Fernand Desmoulin, show an influence of Symbolism and Art Nouveau. André Breton was very much interested in Léon Petitjean ; unfortunately only a few works have survived. 


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